April 24, 2019
Welcome to the LEWIS Content Corner, our newest blog series devoted to analyzing, dissecting and rhapsodizing on the wild, wild world of content marketing. Over the next few posts, we’ll be looking at how content plays a crucial, intersectional role with other agency services. We first examined content’s relationship with PR, and now next to bat is Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Between 80s nostalgia and blindfold challenges, Netflix shows seem to determine our culture’s latest fads. Just earlier this year, the immensely popular streaming platform has given us a true gift in the form of Marie Kondo, whose program “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo” had viewers everywhere clearing clutter and identifying the items in their life that “spark joy.” Though many out there have adopted Kondo’s practice as a guide for organizing their homes, there’s actually one main organizer that has been following a KonMari-like method for years now — Google.
That doesn’t mean Google employees everywhere have perfectly organized closets, but rather the platform itself has employed a content selection system that prioritizes the most quality content for page one. Google’s algorithm for content selection presents brands with both a challenge and an opportunity — how exactly do you show Google that your blog, e-book, webpage, whatever it may be, sparks joy for readers? The answer: Search Engine Optimization, or SEO.
As defined by Moz.com, SEO “is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.” It has a very dynamic and important relationship with content, as SEO can make or break an asset, determining if it is actually viewed and read by its targeted audience. SEO is the Marie Kondo to your disorganized closet of content — without it, your assets will remain strewn across the hidden pages of Google. With it, Google will find that your content brings value to readers and put it on page one of search results.
All writers want their content to have an audience, so SEO strategy must seem like a no brainer. But how exactly do you Kondo your content? Here are a few tactics you can use SEO to get your content on page one:
When looking to kick-off your SEO strategy, you should always begin by conducting a competitor keyword gap analysis and keyword research. This will act as your benchmark — it will show you what keywords you need to target, how your competitors stack up when it comes to keyword rankings, and how your brand can improve its content and SEO strategy. This research will be your North Star when it comes to actually planning and drafting content.
Now that you’ve identified opportunity keywords, build your quarterly or monthly content pipeline accordingly. Pick the top 5-10 keywords and key phrases from your research and construct your blog headline and topic to mirror that phrasing. That way, you’ll be building content with SEO in mind from the start.
Creating a cluster means gathering alike things together. The same thing goes with content clusters, which is an SEO tactic designed to create a linear thread connecting all related content your brand creates. Let’s take a cybersecurity brand as an example. If this company writes a blog titled “What Is Ransomware,” the blog should include hyperlinks on pre-identified keywords or key phrases. Those hyperlinks should link to a solution brief about ransomware, that solution brief should link to a product page for ransomware protection, so on and so forth. This is what we call a content cluster, which is entirely dependent on keyword-rich anchor text that relates back to the main category keyword mapping strategy. In short, hyperlink wisely.
Upon finishing a rough draft of your asset, you usually take a step back and examine your work for errors and required edits. You should also be doing the same for SEO, reviewing your draft to see if the body text is search engine friendly. A few key things to look for: content length (aim for drafts to be around 1000 words), targeted title tags, and succinct meta descriptions, which will not only help your content get on page one but ensure it looks good while it’s there and presents the right information up front.
By employing these techniques, your content should be up to Google’s standards and begin to make its way to page one. Once SEO and content work together, both writers and readers should have plenty of joy sparked in their lives.
Speaking of working together — if you want to learn more about the marriage between content and SEO, make sure you check the recording of our latest webinar, “Content & SEO: A Match Made in Digital Marketing Heaven.”
Are you at square one and need some guidance building a content marketing strategy? Then check out our practical guide to get you started.